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Chili is the quintessential winter meal – how to make the perfect pot

Try our favorite chili recipe for the perfect hearty meal this season

healthy chili recipes two bowls spoon bread
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Chili is one of the best meals to have during the winter season. A hint of spice, a robust flavor, and plenty of legumes can help you and your family feel full and cozy even on the chilliest of days. There's no denying that seasonal dishes during this time of the year are meant to provide a sense of ease while also giving you something warm and delicious to look forward to. And when nights are long and the cold air outdoors is keeping everyone inside, chili is just what you need to get warm and have a hearty meal.

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1 hour 20 minutes

What You Need

  • 2 pounds of ground beef

  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced

  • 8-ounce can of tomato sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of chili powder

  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon of ground oregano

  • 1 teaspoon of salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

  • 1/4 cup of masa harina

  • 15-ounce can of kidney beans, drained and rinsed

  • 15-ounce can of pinto beans, drained and rinsed

  • Shredded cheddar (for serving)

  • Chopped onions (for serving)

  • Tortilla chips (for serving)

  • Lemon wedges (for serving)

So if you’re looking for the perfect healthy chili recipe this season, we’ve got just what you need. This is our favorite recipe for the perfect pot of healthy chili recipe with beef — and a few tips and tricks to help you make it your own.

Bowl of chili with cheese and onion toppings
Image used with permission by copyright holder

How to make the best pot of chili

Below are the steps for creating one of the best pots of chili we’ve come across. This unique spin on a classic dish is flavorful, fun, and super simple to make!

Step 1: Add the ground beef and mixed garlic to a large pan and cook over medium heat until browned.

Step 2: Drain the excess fat and pour the beef/garlic mixture into a large chili pot.

Step 3: Pour in the tomato sauce and add the spices: chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and cayenne.

Step 4: Stir well, cover, and then set the heat to low. Allow the chili to simmer for 1 hour.

Step 5: Be sure to stir the chili occasionally to ensure everything is cooked through. The tomato sauce should provide enough liquid for a good simmer, but if you notice your chili getting dry, add water to your pot one tablespoon at a time until you reach your desired consistency.

Step 6: Once the hour has passed, add the masa harina to a small bowl.

Step 7: Mix in a 1/2 of a cup of water and use a fork to stir. Add it to your chili once your masa harina has been fully mixed. Stir well and add spices to taste.

Step 8: Once you’ve achieved the desired consistency using your masa harina, add the beans (both pinto and kidney) to your chili.

Step 9: Simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 10: Serve with your preferred toppings.

Chili simmering in a Dutch oven on table
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Why we love this recipe

One of the reasons we adore this recipe is that it’s an excellent option for those seeking healthier meal ideas. During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in sugary snacks or fried foods that aren’t good for your body. This recipe includes natural, fresh ingredients with plenty of beans and legumes to keep you satisfied on a chilly winter night.

We also love how simple this dish is to make. While it takes a bit more than an hour to cook, there is little prep work and the stovetop does everything for you. Additionally, we love the use of masa harina in place of chili noodles or other thickening ingredients. This addition is flavorful and authentic, making this chili recipe stand out among the crowd.

Bowl of chili on the table with bread side
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Tips and tricks for personalizing your pot

If you want to take this chili recipe up a notch, we have a few additional tips and tricks to help you personalize your pot.

Use ground turkey

Create an easy turkey chili recipe that’s also healthy by replacing the ground beef. Ground turkey has a unique flavor and a softer consistency than ground beef. While both can be cooked similarly, ground turkey is a fantastic option for those looking to cut out red meat from their diet.

Make it in a slow cooker

If you want a healthy chili recipe that needs little to no oversight, try using a slow cooker. If you have a large enough slow cooker, add the ingredients to your dish a few hours before dinner, and then sit back and allow your pot to cook the chili for you. Of course, you’ll have to make a few adjustments to your recipe when it comes to timing, but we’ve found some fun slow cooker chili recipe ideas that may inspire you.

Branch out this winter by creating the perfect pot of chili that is sure to warm you up from the inside out. Get creative with your spices, and feel free to make this delicious recipe your own.

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
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